planning an elope in Utah in winter can make for an unforgettable experience. Break out the snowshoes, or your wedding dress for some stunning bridal shots

10 Places to Elope in Utah

10 Places to Elope in Utah

Utah Elopement Packages | Halie West Photography

Why Elope in Utah

Utah is in incredible state. I’m so grateful to call Utah my new home. I love getting to explore new places in this state, and I believe that it is the best place for your elopement. Utah has stunning snow capped mountains, golden lakeside fields, and lovely sandstone sculptures. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to eloping in Utah. Every place is full of adventure, beauty, and memories ready to be made.

Landscape

Utah is a diverse state. In Northern Utah you find beautiful places such as the Bonneville Salt Flats and the Great Salt Lake. The Wasatch Mountains stretches towards the south, and the adventures to be found among those peaks are endless. Southern Utah is a desert paradise with an incredible amount of places to experience. Choosing a location comes down to when you want to elope, where you want to explore, and what place feels right for you and your love.

Seasons

Utah has intense and beautiful seasons. Summers are real hot, while winters are down right cold. You can find the best snow on Earth in Utah, and the wildflowers and fall foliage is hard to beat. Pick a season that feels right for your elopement to help narrow down where you may want to elope.

Spring

  • Expect light rain, a chance of snow, and mild temps
  • Wildflowers are bloomin!
  • Spring skiing is in full swing

Summer

  • Northern Utah can be milder than than Southern Utah in this time 
  • The alpine is the perfect place to be on a warm day
  • Have you ever wanted to visit a lake, kayak, or go rafting? Now is the time

Fall

  • Temps become mild as the season goes on
  • Fall colors across the landscape are just beautiful
  • If you love aspen trees this is the time to elope

Winter

  • Get ready for snow and cold temps
  • Ski and snowboard season is here so let’s say “I do” on the slopes
  • National parks are less crowded

How to Get Your Marriage License

Getting your Utah marriage is a fairly easy process. The licenses are good for 30 days and you can get your license the same day as your elopement! 

To Get Your License:

  • Both you and your partner must be present, have legal ID, and know your socials at the time of application
  • You need to know your full names, your dates and places of birth, your addresses, parents names, and parents places of birth for the application
  • You must pay fees that range from $30-50 that may be cash only
  • Your elopement needs an officiant to be legal
  • Two witnesses must sign your license

10 Places to Elope in Utah

  1. Zion National Park
  2. Antelope Island State Park
  3. The Wasatch Mountains
  4. Canyonlands National Park
  5. Arches National Park
  6. Bonneville Salt Flats
  7. Moab
  8. Bryce Canyon National Park
  9. Lake Powell
  10. Grand Staircase Escalante

Utah Elopement Packages

I would love to be your photographer and guide on your greatest adventure yet for when you elope in Utah. I believe in telling your genuine love story, creating an unforgettable experience, and allowing you to be yourselves. Everyone has their own story that I hope to tell. Here are the basics included in every package that I use to serve you the best I can.

  • 4 hours of coverage (additional hours available!)
  • Experience and knowledge of Utah’s landscapes
  • Personalized location scouting and travel guide
  • Permit advice
  • Printing rights and unlimited downloads
  • High resolution downloadable gallery
  • A full roll of film photos
  • A discounted adventure session
  • Starting at 2,200

Want to elope in Utah? Get in touch!

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!

the ultimate antelope island elopement guide. Plan your wedding day on antelope island to have an adventurous day you will never forget

The Ultimate Antelope Island Elopement Guide

The Ultimate Antelope Island Elopement Guide

Planning Your Wedding Day on Antelope Island

Why You Should Elope on Antelope Island

Antelope Island is a lovely State Park to elope in. The park has hiking trails, biking paths, beautiful landscapes and active wildlife. It only costs $10 per car to get into Antelope Island State Park. You can also get in with an Annual State Park Pass pass. The state park is home to animals like bison, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep.

You can be sure to see bison during your visit to the park. Sweeping grasslands housing a herd of bison back dropped by snow capped mountains really makes you feel far from Salt Lake City. The vastness of the island is enough to make you feel small. While staring out over The Great Salt Lake it is incredible to think that this lake once filled the whole valley up the base of the Wasatch mountains.

Watching the sun set over that lake is absolutely incredible.

Antelope Island is a beautiful place with incredible landscapes, endless adventures, and lots of wildlife to encounter. If your elopement calls for adventure this just may be the place for you. Read on to see what you need to plan your elopement on Antelope Island.

The Antelope Island Checklist

Find Your Elopement Team

Your elopement team starts with booking your photographer. You will be spending a lot of time with them, and they can help you find other vendors and to plan your day! So hi! I would love to be considered as your photographer and guide.

Other vendors you may want to add to the team are an officiant, elopement planner, hair and makeup artist, florist, musician, and a caterer or chef. Discuss with your partner what type of team will be best for your day and find the people that speak to you!

 

Choose When You Want to Elope

Antelope Island is best visited in mid spring when the landscapes are lush and green. However, each season has something different to offer.

Let’s take a look at each season’s conditions to see which is best for you!

Spring:

  • Lush landscapes
  • Wildflowers start to bloom
  • Chance of rain
  • Insects will be active

Summer:

  • Warmer weather
  • Great time for a swim
  • Long days for adventure
  • Insects will be most active

Fall:

  • Cooler temps as season goes on
  • Chance for light rain
  • Possibility for insects 

Winter:

  • Snow looks amazing
  • Colder temps and less crowds
  • Chance of snow and ice on trails
  • Lake reflects the sky
  • Snow capped mountains!

Busy season ranges from late Spring through early Fall. Remember that eloping on a weekday means less crowds and more privacy for you and your loved ones.

Choose Your Ceremony Location

The state park designates four different locations for elopement ceremonies. It also opens up the opportunity to hold your ceremony at any location that gets approved! This is great for tiny ceremonies.

Your ideal ceremony location may depend on the amount of guests you plan on having. Working with a park ranger by filling out this form can help you determine which site is right for you.

You can send your application or ask questions to Assistant Park Manager Wendy Wilson at [email protected]

Apply For Needed Permits

You can apply to have your elopement on Antelope Island with the same application that lists the ceremony locations. Application base fees are $60 and may vary based on the size of your elopement.

 

Book Your Accommodations

You may be traveling from out of state for your elopement. Salt Lake City Airport is just under an hour away from Antelope Island. You can also opt out of flying and road trip to Utah!

You can find a cozy airbnb to stay in, book a hotel room, or camp at the state park. Be sure to find a place that fits the needs of your elopement.

Here are Some Lodging Recommendations:

Salt Lake City Loft

Beesley Cottage

Salt Lake Downtown Studio

Cute Ski Cabin

Antelope Island Campgrounds

Make it Legal

Getting your Utah marriage is a fairly easy process. The licenses are good for 30 days and you can get your license the same day as your elopement! 

To Make Your Marriage Legal:

  • Both you and your partner must be present, have legal ID, and know your socials at the time of application
  • You need to know your full names, your dates and places of birth, your addresses, parents names, and parents places of birth for the application
  • You must pay fees that range from $30-50 that may be cash only
  • Your elopement needs an officiant to be legal
  • Two witnesses must sign your license

The Davis County Clerk Office is the closest place you can get your marriage license for $50. You can also get your marriage license in Salt Lake City for the same fee!

Choose Your Adventures

Antelope Island has a bunch of different adventure options. There are endless places to explore. I highly recommend watching the sun set over the lake to end your day!

Some Adventures Include:

Hiking

Biking

Swimming

Wildlife Spotting

Horseback Riding

Kayaking

Camping

 

Go On Your Greatest Adventure Yet! 

Now you are ready to have the Antelope Island elopement of your dreams! Do what works for you and add to this list. Your elopement is all about making a day that is all your own. I hope that this guide gets you stoked over planning your adventure together. 

Did this Antelope Island Elopement guide get you stoked? Are you ready to plan your wedding day? Get in touch so we can create your dream day.

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!

The ultimate zion elopement guide for planning your dream elopement in zion national park. Create your greatest adventure yet by starting with this guide. See if an elopement in Zion is right for you and your love

The Ultimate Zion Elopement Guide

The Ultimate Zion Elopement Guide

Planning Your Wedding Day in Zion National Park

Why You Should Plan Your Elopement in Zion

It’s no surprise that Zion National Park is Utah’s first national park. The sweeping walls of pinks, oranges, and reds will captivate you and leave you imagining the forces it took to create such a place. Zion offers loads of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, daunting climbs, 4×4 roads, endless slot canyons, and famous river hikes. What’s not to love about a place that could leave you exploring for weeks on end?

Zion National Park is a great location for your adventurous wedding day or elopement. With impressive scenery, affordable ceremony locations, and the cutest nearby town, Zion has what you need to create a memorable elopement.

This elopement guide will outline everything you may need for a wedding day in Zion National Park. Together we can create a day that is as wild and alive as the park itself.

The Zion Elopement Checklist

Find Your Elopement Dream Team

Your elopement dream team starts with your photographer. You will be spending a lot of time with them, and they can help you to find other vendors and to plan your day! And hi! I would love to be considered as your photographer and guide.

Other vendors you may want to add to the team are an officiant, elopement planner, hair and makeup artist, florist, musician, and a caterer or chef. These vendors can be found as you plan your elopement. Discuss with your partner what type of team will be best for your day and find the people that speak to you!

Choose When You Want to Elope

Choosing your elopement date depends more on what season you want to visit Zion in. Remember that choosing a weekday is best to avoid crowds, and that you may need to be flexible on your date to get your choice ceremony location.

Let’s take a look at each season’s conditions to see which is best for you!

Spring:

  • Typically warmer weather
  • Wildflowers start blooming
  • Possibility for rain and flash floods
  • Snow can be present depending on the winter

Summer:

  • Warmer weather
  • Flash flood possibility from July-September
  • Great time to explore river hikes
  • Will be crowded

Fall:

  • Cooler conditions
  • Temps can vary 30 degrees in a single day
  • Fall colors start to come out
  • Crowds tend to lessen as the season goes on

Winter:

  • Often cold and wet
  • Snow and ice can be present on trails
  • Best time to avoid the crowds

Busy season ranges from March during Spring Break weeks and from May to September. Weekdays tend to be less busy and provide smaller crowds!

Choose Your Ceremony Location

Eloping in Zion means that your ceremony can be just the two of you, include your closest family members, or include a small group of your closest family and friends. 

Zion has a total of 6 ceremony locations that can hold a range of 10 to 100 guests. Once you have decided on how many guests you plan to have, you can choose a suitable ceremony location here.

Apply For Needed Permits

Special Use Permits for Zion cost $100 and take at least 3 weeks to process. You can apply for a permit here.

Keep in mind that some hikes, like the Narrows, or adventures, like river kayaking, also require permits.

Book Your Accommodations

You have your permit, and your elopement day is all set! Now you need to find a place to stay and plan how you will get to your elopement location. 

You could opt to find a cozy airbnb that is close to the park, stay in a hotel in Springdale, or even camp in the park if that’s your thing. The most important thing is that you choose a place that fits both of your needs.

Here are some recommendations:

Under Canvas Zion

A-Frame Airbnb in the Zion Wilderness

Driftwood Lodge in Springdale 

Zion National Park Lodge

Zion’s South Campground

Depending on where you are coming from, you may need to fly or drive to Zion. Las Vegas and Salt Lake City Airports are not far from Zion. If you choose to fly, remember to rent a suitable vehicle as your day may call for 4×4 roads. You can also up the adventure and plan a fun road trip to Utah!

Make it Legal

Getting your Utah marriage is a fairly easy process. The licenses are good for 30 days and you can get your license the same day as your elopement! 

To Make Your Marriage Legal:

  • Both you and your partner must be present, have legal ID, and know your socials at the time of application
  • You need to know your full names, your dates and places of birth, your addresses, parents names, and parents places of birth for the application
  • You must pay fees that range from $30-50 that may be cash only
  • Your elopement needs an officiant to be legal
  • Two witnesses must sign your license

The Washington County office in St. George is the closest office to get your marriage license. It is just an hour from the national park!

Choose Your Adventures

Now for the fun part! Zion has so many different types of adventures to offer. You may want to incorporate one or more into your elopement day, or have a post elopement day adventure. 

Adventures include:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Jeeping
  • Helicopter Tours
  • Canyoneering
  • Hardcore Kayaking

Some of these adventures are better done with help. Hiring a guide service is a great way to kick start your marriage with a new experience!

Go On Your Greatest Adventure Yet! 

Time to happy dance and pack your gear! You are ready to go on your greatest adventure yet! I couldn’t be more stoked for you as you choose to have an elopement that reflects you, your love, and your values. Your elopement will be unforgettable because it feels right. With an awesome photographer and dream team to help out you will be able to relive the day for years to come.

Ready to elope in Zion after reading this guide? Get in touch! Let’s adventure together.

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!

watchmen tower of southern utah's national park zion and wedding or elopement desitination. Perfect spot for a wedding in a utah national park

The Mighty 5 Elopement Guide | Utah's National Parks

The Mighty 5 Elopement Guide

Planning Your Wedding Day in Utah’s National Parks

 

Why You Should Elope in Utah

Eloping means that you get to have an intimate and meaningful experiences with who you love most. Choosing to elope is a brave decision that allows you to create a wedding day that is truly yours. Your wedding day should reflect your love. Eloping will ensure that your wedding day is full of adventure!

Southern Utah is home to Utah’s 5 national parks. These parks are full of unique rock formations, gorgeous sandstone, and adventurous experiences for everyone. With so many great options it can be tough to choose which park to elope in. This guide is here to help you narrow down what park is right for you.

Southern Utah’s Seasons

Utah’s national parks experience a range of seasons. Each season brings different adventures in each park. Here are some things you should know about each season in Southern Utah. This can help you to decide when to plan your wedding day!

Spring

  • temperatures range from 60-90 during the day, and 30-60 overnight
  • rain is likely and canyon hikes may be off limit because of it
  • get ready to see spring blooms

Summer

  • temperatures can get well over 100 degrees
  • hiking in the early morning or for sunset is wise
  • you have the perfect reason to go rafting or visit a lake

Fall

  • temperatures range from 60-80 during the day, and 30-50 overnight
  • fall foliage is present and beautiful
  • rain can happen so pack layers

Winter

  • temperatures range from 20-50 degrees and can drop below freezing at night
  • some trails and roads are closed due to snow. Other trails or roads may be impassable
  • parks will likely be less crowded
  • the contrast of snow against sandstone is absolutely beautiful

The busiest times in the parks are from April to June and from mid-September to October.

How to Get Your Utah Marriage License

Marriage licenses are important for making your elopement legal. While it is an easy process, it is best to know what you need before you go. The coolest thing about a Utah marriage license is that you can get it the same day as your wedding!

What to know about your marriage license:

  • both you and your partner must be present, have legal ID, and know your socials at the time of application
  • your full names, your dates and places of birth, your addresses, parents names, and parents places of birth will be needed for the application
  • fees range from $30-50 and may be cash only
  • your wedding needs an officiant
  • two witnesses must sign your license

 

Arches National Park

Why You Should Elope in Arches

This park likely has more arches than you can count! It is amazing to see what nature can sculpt and how sandstone arches can inspire.

Permit Information

Wedding permit applications cost $185. This includes a non-refundable $55 application fee. These permits can be applied for up to a year in advance. You should apply within 28 days before your wedding to get consideration for a permit, but permits are typically processed within 10 business days. . Permits can be applied for here.

Wedding Guest Accommodations

Arches can allow up to 80 guests for your wedding day. Most ceremony locations allow up to 25 guests, so it is best to submit your permit earlier if you plan on having a larger wedding.

The Greatest Things to Do in Arches

  • see Delicate Arch at sunrise or sunset
  • go on a 4×4 tour
  • try to count as many arches as you can
  • visit Balancing Rock, the Windows, and Double Arch
  • hike in Devils Garden
  • do a ranger guided hike in the Fiery Furnace


Canyonlands National Park

Why You Should Elope in Canyonlands

Standing on a cliff edge and seeing the creation of time, wind, and the Colorado River is simply incredible. Each overlook tells a new story, and the colors of the sandstone in the changing light is so beautiful.

Permit Information

Wedding permit applications cost $185. This includes a non-refundable $55 application fee. These permits can be applied for up to a year in advance. You should apply within 28 days before your wedding to get consideration for a permit, but permits are typically processed within 10 business days. Permits can be applied for here.

Wedding Guest Accommodations

Weddings can have up to 25 guests at any of the three ceremony locations.

The Greatest Things to Do in Canyonlands

  • go off-roading or mountain biking on White Rim Road
  • see Mesa Arch at sunrise
  • hike or have a picnic at one of the many overlooks
  • hike to Upheavel Dome
  • check out Elephant Hill

Capitol Reef National Park

Why You Should Elope in Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is geologically incredible. From a 100 mile geological monocline, to red and golden sandstone, towers, and natural bridges this park has a lot to see and learn about.

Permit Information

Wedding permit applications cost $50. These permits can be applied for up to a year in advance. You must apply within 7 days before your wedding to get consideration for a permit. Permits can be applied for here.

Wedding Guest Accommodations

Weddings at Capitol Reef can include up to 100 people. Most ceremony sites are more suitable for 15-20 guests.

The Greatest Things to Do in Capitol Reef

  • hike to Capitol Gorge
  • go for a scenic drive
  • hike to Cassidy Arch
  • enjoy a piece of pie at the Gifford House
  • rent a 4×4 vehicle and see Cathedral Valley
  • find a slot canyon


Bryce Canyon National Park

Why You Should Elope in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is a wild place. Hoodoos are some of the coolest sculptures made by nature! Bryce Canyon offers stunning overlooks and awesome hikes into the canyon.

Permit Information

Wedding permit applications cost $100. These permits can be applied for up to a year in advance. You must apply within 14 days before your wedding to get consideration for a permit. Permits can be applied for here.

Wedding Guest Accommodations

Bryce Canyon can hold weddings with up to 30 guests at either of its two ceremony locations.

The Greatest Things to Do in Bryce Canyon

  • hike the Navajo Loop Trail
  • see the sunrise at Inspiration Point
  • go for a trail ride
  • hike the Rim Trail
  • go on an ATV tour
  • hike the Peek-A-Boo Loop
  • see a waterfall on Mossy Cave Trail
  • go snowshoeing, sledding, or cross country skiing in winter

Zion National Park

Why You Should Elope in Zion

Zion is breathtaking. With its towering rock formations and rushing river, Zion’s contrast between the desert and greenery is quite stunning. There are so many adventure you can have in Zion!

Permit Information

Wedding permit applications cost $100. These permits can be applied for up to a year in advance. You must apply within 21 days before your wedding to get consideration for a permit. Permits can be applied for here.

Wedding Guest Accommodations

Zion can hold weddings from anywhere for 2 to 100 people! The type of ceremony area you can reserve is dependent on how many guests you will be having. Be sure to get your permit early to get your desired ceremony site and date.

The Greatest Things to Do in Zion

  • hike angels landing
  • see petroglyphs
  • hike the narrows
  • go rock climbing or canyoneering
  • take a jeep or ATV to a slot canyon
  • go for a trail ride
  • visit the nearby town of Springdale and grab ice cream or a beer

As Always, Leave No Trace

Leaving No Trace on your wedding day means that the future of the park is a much brighter. We should all do our part to protect and preserve wild places- especially those that we make beautiful memories in!

 

Want to get married in a national park? Check out my 4 tips for adventure!

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!

flowy reclamation dress at crater lake

Why I Want To Be Your Elopement Photographer

Why I Want To Be Your Elopement Photographer

Halie West Photography | Adventure Elopement Photographer

 

Hi there! My name is Halie. I’m the girl behind the camera capturing adventure elopements of all kinds. I love exploring both new and old places and learning everything I can from them. I’ve been photographing since I was in my teens, but didn’t start pointing my camera at what filled my soul until college. It was then that I found that my passion for nature and people wildly in love had been within me all along.

A Bit About Me

As a kid I loved playing outside among the trees. In high school my favorite running trails were the ones that wove through forests. My love for nature has always been a part if my life, but it wasn’t until my fascination with National Parks that I realized this. This curiosity drove me to plan several road trips throughout college that had me exploring much of the southwest. My friends and I ran on little sleep, lots of caffeine, and drove long hours to get a glimpse of wild places. Some destinations included Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, White Sands, and Grand Canyon National Park.

This time on the road inspired me to form a deeper and more present connection with nature. Between road trips I spent a lot of time in nearby public lands, such as Joshua Tree or Forest Falls, to be more familiar with places I wanted to grow close to. My curiosity will forever take me on long road trips for the sake of exploration, but I also crave the familiar. There is something sacred and intimate in knowing a place so well.

Adventure and Love Makes Me Happy

My love for the outdoors made me want to be a travel photographer for National Geographic. (I hope to have a shot on the cover someday!) However, my photography goals changed after I met my partner, Stephen. As cliche as it may sound, I didn’t know love until falling so hard for him. At least not the type of love you can share with a person who is so different from you. A person who makes you feel like your best self, and who inspires you to create and live your wildest dreams. You know, the type of person you really just want to kiss all the dang time.

With Stephen in my life I began to understand how we can fall so deeply in love with someone, and not just dogs and nature. Much like the places that kept me exploring, I want to understand love more intimately. I want to tell love stories. I believe that your wedding day should be your greatest adventure yet.

My Beliefs on Your Wedding Day

I believe that, when it comes down to it, your love is nothing but your own. It is not traditions. It is not expectations. Your wedding day is yours. It is not other people’s perceptions. It is uniquely yours; a compilation of what makes you both so wildly in love. Your life and the events in it should reflect that. Don’t settle for what everyone else is doing on their wedding day. Be adventurous and creative. Make it all your own. What a life you will live, and what an experience you will have.

How We Will Create an Elopement Experience

So you want to go on adventurous elopement? Get excited! The adventures to be had are endless, but you can only choose one for your wedding day. Think of the places that inspire you the most. Write them down. When we get on the phone we will talk about your dream day, where you see yourself vowing your love to your partner, and where you love to explore. I’ll come up with a list of adventures that are just you, and we will plan from there! Your wedding day is truly a choose your own adventure- it couldn’t get more fun than that.

What I Will Do for You

Being your elopement photographer is a lot more than just taking pretty pictures. It means that I have the honor to work alongside you to craft a wedding day that is all your own.  I want to capture you and your partner simply. There will be no stiff posing on our adventure, just a lot of laughter and taking in the views. I believe in capturing your story together and forming a real experience that is all you. Your wedding day is for your love and nothing else. Most of all, I want to get to know you and your partner. I want to know how you first met, your favorite snacks, your dreams, and your greatest adventures. I really hope that we can form a genuine and authentic friendship.


We Are in This Together

I am your elopement photographer and guide to your greatest adventure yet- your wedding day. The day that will mark your calendar as your anniversary for years to come, yet it is so much more than that. It is a testament to your love and an outpouring of both your hearts and souls. It is one of the many adventures in your lifetime together, and a creation of your biggest dreams formed by what makes your love your own. Because your wedding day is yours. It should be. I want to help make it feel that way so when you look back you couldn’t have imagined doing anything else.

You should reflect on that day and flip through photographs thinking “This is so us.” I will bring all the stoke and tools needed to create your greatest adventure yet. You just bring your love and adventurous spirits. Want to get married in a National Park or State Park? Let’s do it. Did you fall in love with a plot of BLM land? I’m so here for it. Is there a spot that is meaningful to you or your family? Let’s incorporate it. I’m open to any adventure and I believe that every adventure is worth taking. I only ask that, like your love, this adventure is your own.

 

Want to plan your own elopement? Start here with the Elopement Checklist.

Let’s start planning your greatest adventure yet today!


how to leave no trace on your adventure

How to Leave No Trace on Your Adventure

How to Leave No Trace on Your Adventure

Halie West Photography | Adventure Wedding Photographer

 

Adventuring responsibly ensures that wild places will stay wild for years to come. For me, this is the top reason to follow Leave No Trace Principles (LNT) while on any adventure. LNT was created to educate the public on how they can be better stewards for our wild places. The world is full of so many beautiful places that are worth protecting. Not only will the places we visit benefit from our practice of LNT, but so will we. Together we can create better outdoor experiences for all to enjoy. Learn how to leave no trace on your adventure by following these 7 LNT principles.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

A well planned trip, especially in the backcountry, can result in a better trip. Knowing what the weather may be like, trail conditions, and what gear to bring is important. Spontaneous adventures can be amazing, but having some knowledge of the area you are visiting can help from something going wrong. Be prepared and have a backup plan. Adventures change and having knowledge of the area can cause a lot less stress.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Staying on trails, sand, or other durable surfaces is important to do in any ecosystem. Trails were put in place to minimize impact. When you go off trail you risk crushing vegetation or sensitive soils that are helpful to the environment. Some of this damage, like stepping on sensitive cryptobiotic soil in certain deserts, is practically irreversible. If we do our best to stay on trails we can minimize our impact and preserve places for years to come.

Dispose of Waste Properly

The outdoors is no place for waste, it is important to dispose of any waste properly. Above all this means packing out your trash and throwing it away so no wildlife can get to it. Even your poop should be packed out in wag bags. Pack it in, pack it out. Waste doesn’t stop at solid pieces of trash! Wastewater should always be dumped at least 200 feet away from water sources (lakes, streams, creeks, etc.).

Leave What You Find

The outdoors aren’t ours to take from. Natural resources you find are better used by wildlife and for preserving ecosystems. Taking cultural artifacts is definitely a huge no. Altering areas, digging holes, or moving rocks to form fire rings should be avoided- or at least returned to its natural state once you are finished. The golden rule is to leave nature as you found it.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Fires should only be built in areas that can sustain them. This is dependent on the time of year, ecosystem, restrictions in place, and amount of wood available. Bringing locally sourced firewood and using a designated fire ring is the best practice. Be sure to put your fire out completely. Burn all the wood in the ring, pour water over it, and stir it until it is no longer hot. Campfire can add warmth to any camping trip when done responsibly.

Respect Wildlife

Remember that you are in someone else’s home. The wildlife you may, and should, be stoked to see calls the beautiful place you are visiting home. Let them be at peace in their home and enjoy wildlife sightings from a safe distance. A good rule of thumb (literally) is to hold out your hand and see if your thumb can cover the creature from sight. If you can still see them you are too close and could be putting yourself at risk.

Be Considerate of Others

Everyone should have a positive outdoor experience. Playing disturbing or loud music, or having your dog off leash can cause disturbances to others. Instead, try using headphones and keeping your pup on leash. When hiking downhill always yield to those hiking uphill. While enjoying the outdoors, and in everyday life, it is important to keep others in mind.


Practicing LNT on Your Adventure

For Lovers

Hey people in love! If you are getting married in a wild place, such as a National Park, you should carry certain responsibilities to leave it better than you found it. This place is about to become very special to you. I’m sure you will want to see it thrive for generations to come. Follow all park regulations and rules. Have your ceremony on a durable surface or in a designated area- protect the plants! Remember that confetti is a huge no-no, and that decorations may need to be kept to a minimum. I’ve heard it’s good karma to stay on trail and pick up trash on your wedding day. If you have guests, be sure to teach them about LNT too! Take the time to learn how to leave not trace on your adventure. Together we can all be stewards for the great outdoors!

For Photographers

Hey fellow photographers! Educate yourself on LNT. Educate your clients on LNT. Talk about it in your posts and show you are following it in your photos and stories. What we post has an impact. It is up to us if that impact is positive or negative on the environment. We all can and should be better together. And it’s going to take everyone to protect our wild places. These 7 principles are a great place to start.

I practice LNT by picking up all the trash that I can on the trail. The day after a hike I tend to find wrappers in the pockets of my hiking clothes, or in the pockets of my pack. I take care to watch where I step, put out my campfires, and wave at the cute little deers from afar. Every time we go into nature we leave an impact no matter how careful we are to abide by LNT. Practicing LNT can help us to minimize this impact the best we can. In the end, all we can do is to do our best.

This guide is only an introduction on how to Leave No Trace on your adventure. Read through the Leave No Trace Center’s website for more information on how you can be responsible for public lands. Park rangers can also be a great resource for rules specific to the area you are adventuring in. Together we can be better stewards and make the outdoors enjoyable for all. Now get out there and go on your greatest adventure yet.

Looking to get married in a National Park? Check out my guide on how can create your dream wedding day.


bryce canyon utah wedding

How To Get Your Marriage License in Utah

How To Get Your Marriage License in Utah

Halie West Photography | Adventure Wedding Photographer

 

Want to get married in Utah? With 5 National Parks to elope in and a range of environments, Utah really has it all. You can have sandstone walls and hoodoos as your witness. You can get married among the Wasatch or Uinta Mountains. These parks and surrounding wild places also make a great honeymoon destination! Read on to learn how to get your marriage license in Utah.

Pick a Date

Your future anniversary date should be the first thing you choose for your wedding day! This date is not only important for reserving your venue or national park permit, but is required for your marriage license. Your date can either be meaningful to you, or pair well with the location for your wedding day.

Apply In Person

Applying for a marriage license is an easy process. Being prepared and knowing what you need before you go make your visit quick and easy! Most counties require in-person visits, while some counties have online applications. Check with your county to see which is possible. If you are coming from out of state be sure to give yourself enough time in the state to apply for your license.

  • Both you and your partner must be present at the time on the application
  • You will need to put your full names and your addresses, and dates and places of birth on your application
  • Know both of your social security numbers
  • You must include each of your parents names and birth places. This includes both mothers maiden names
  • Bring your valid picture IDs such as a passport or driver license
  • Pay a fee ranging anywhere from $30-50. Check if your county takes cash only           

Get Your Marriage Solemnized

There a variety of officiants who can preform a wedding ceremony in Utah. This list includes any ordained ministers,rabbis, priests, and Native American spiritual advisers. Governors, mayors, and other members of legislature may also preform a wedding ceremony. At least two witnesses over the age of 18 must be present at the ceremony.

Have Your Dream Wedding Day!

Congrats you now have a marriage license! This license is valid for 30 days. Now it is time to have the wedding of your dreams. Pull your partner close and get ready to embark on this new adventure together.

 

Thinking of having a wedding in Utah? Get in touch! Together we can create an adventure that will inspire you.
Need some help planning your elopement? Give The Elopement Checklist a read to get started!


national park elopement

How to Have a National Park Wedding | 4 Tips for Adventure

How to Have a National Park Wedding

4 Tips for an Adventurous Wedding Day

 

National Parks are a great place for your wedding if you want to be inspired. What better adventure can be had than one with the person you always want by your side in a park that will constantly keep you exploring? Planning your adventure wedding in a National Park can allow you to create a unique day that is all your own. National Park weddings are best for couples who want a small wedding with close friends and family, or plan on eloping with just one another. This type of adventure wedding feels right for nature lovers who are adventurous at heart.

America’s Best Idea

National Parks are America’s best idea. They protect an area that allows people to fall in love with nature. With 62 parks to explore across the country there are so many different environments to explore. So why aren’t you planning your adventure wedding or elopement in a National Park? A National Park is the perfect place for you to have your greatest adventure yet.

Did you know that  the first park to be founded was Yellowstone National Park? The explorers who told tales of the land and the artists who captured its beauty caused the park to be founded in 1872. It was the wonders of Yellowstone that moved Congress to pass laws to protect the lands, and it is the wonders of Yellowstone and countless other parks that continue to inspire us today. Here are some tips on to see how you can start planning your adventure wedding or elopement experience.


1: Find the Park That Speaks To You + Set A Date

When it comes to planning your adventure wedding, finding the National Park you both want to be wed in is a good place to start. This can be a park that you’ve dreamed of seeing or a favorite filled with meaning. You may need to find a park that can support a small wedding if you plan on having guests. Your options may be more open if you are eloping just the two of you. Browsing photos of parks that spark your interest is a good way to narrow down your list. You can also talk with your photographer or park officials to find the park that is sure to be best for your wedding day.

Timing is Important

Setting your wedding date comes next. Be sure to check what the weather is like around the date you have set. That may help narrow down your choices for your park, or cause you to want to get married in a certain season. Weekdays are perfect for ensuring smaller crowds within the park. Busy seasons for the park may mean that you will need a backup date.

2: Apply For Your Marriage License + Permits

Make your adventure wedding date official by getting a marriage license for the state you are to be wed in. Marriage licenses vary from state to state, so be sure to research what it takes to get one in the state your park is located in.

Every National Park calls for a wedding permit of their own. Some parks even call for commercial permits your photographer will need to apply for. These are special use permits that require you to have an idea of what day, time, and location within the park you want for your wedding. Wedding permits can range anywhere from $150-300. Permits need to be applied for 1 year- 3 weeks before your wedding date. You should apply for a permit as soon as you can to ensure you get your date and ceremony location of choice. Your photographer can help you navigate these permits to ensure that your wedding day is set!

3: Pay the Donation and Start Creating

Time to happy dance! Your permit was accepted and it is time to pay your fee (or donation. It’s for a great cause to help a place you are going to fall in love with!). Now it’s time for you both to create your adventurous wedding day. Talk to your photographer to start laying out a timeline that works for you and your partner. Park officials and park guidebooks are other great sources to learn from. Be sure to create an adventure all your own that gives you the time to soak it all in. In the end the photographs from your wedding day are oh so special because of the feelings and and memories they invoke. You only get one wedding adventure. So make it a good one!


4: Learn to Leave the Park Better Than You Found It

The National Park of your choice should benefit from your wedding day too! Be sure you and your guests (if you have them) learn park rules and regulations. These are important to follow to ensure your safety and the safety of the flora and fauna. Educate yourself on Leave No Trace principles. It’s so important to stay in trail, and picking up trash on your wedding day calls for instant good karma. You can even donate to the park in lieu of gifts to ensure that it is protected for years to come!

Thinking of planning your adventure wedding or elopement in a National Park? Get in touch! Together we can create an adventure that will inspire you.

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!

how to plan your adventure elopement

The Elopement Checklist | Plan Your Elopement

The Elopement Checklist

How to Plan Your Elopement

Your love feels right. So should your wedding day!

 

Are you planning your wedding day? Have you thought of eloping? The beauty of eloping is that they are completely unique to you and your partner. Get creative. Go on an adventure. The best part is that there is no wrong way to elope! The day should just reflect both of you, be just for you, and be created by you. Your wedding day should be about you and your love- not expectations. You can invite a few family members and friends, or elope just the two of you. Read on to see how you can get started on this elopement checklist.

 

The Elopement Checklist

Adventure Elopement Photographer

The first thing on your elopement checklist should be finding a photographer. On your elopement day you will spend the most time with your photographer. Crazy right? Find someone who’s photography speaks to you, who’s soul you can vibe with, and who has the tools to make your day authentic and unique.

A photographer who specializes as an adventure wedding photographer or elopement photographer can ensure to create the magic you are looking for. That is what us photographers are here for! We are your guides, biggest fans, and storytellers.

As your photographer and guide I  will be with you every step of the way in planning your dream elopement, and you can rely on me to carry the stoke level high. If you enjoy my work and want to book me for your elopement please get in touch! I’m super excited for the experience that we are going to create together. These are the photos you will look back on for years to come to remember your greatest adventure yet, so it is important to me that your story is a well told one. 

Elopement Date

When choosing your elopement date you can decide whether you want to be flexible or not.

If you have a certain date in mind, say the anniversary of the day you both first met, then start contacting your dream team and finding that perfect location as soon as you can! Any outdoor place that requires a ceremony permit typically needs three weeks to process your permit. The best thing about elopements is that they can be spontaneous. You can even plan yours a few weeks out if you want to go with the flow and love the idea of seeing where adventure can take you.

Be Mindful of the Weather

When choosing the time of year you want to elope, and where you want to elope be sure to keep the weather in mind. Eloping in Moab in the Summer is doable but may be way more miserable than doing it in the Spring when temperatures are lower. Eloping and mountaineering to the top of Mt. Rainier is possible May through September, but would be way too dangerous in the Winter. Your photographer will be able to help guide you to the best time to adventure in your dream elopement location.

Elopement Location

The next step of the elopement checklist is finding a location that speaks to you. If you are planning an adventure elopement then that means that you are going for a hike. Your elopement could include climbing a wall, finding  the surf, or hitting the slopes. Maybe you are backpacking to say “I do” on a mountain top at sunrise. Whatever your adventure, location is key. You should both decide on a location or two that speaks to you. Maybe it’s a place you always wanted to explore, a place where you first met or had your first date, or a place that you just truly love.

Getting to experience nature with your partner is such a treat, so you can’t really go wrong with any of the public land spaces that there are to choose from.

Permits

If you choose to get married on public land you will likely need to get a ceremony permit. Don’t let that deter you. It’s a pretty easy process that takes up to three weeks to get approved, and will typically cost less than $200. Your photographer or planner can help you with the permit process.

Accommodations

Depending on the location you choose, you may need to plan a road trip, get plane tickets, rent a car, or rent an airbnb. Once you have your permits secured it is a great time to start booking everything you need to make getting ready for your elopement comfortable and stress free.

Elopement Attire

Elopement attire is completely up to your own creativity on your elopement day. You can keep the tradition of wearing a white dress, or you can choose any color from the rainbow. You don’t even have to wear a dress. Hell, you could elope in your hiking clothes! If you do want to go for a dress, find one that compliments the environment you will be eloping in. Are you going to get wet? Find fabric that won’t weigh you down. Will there be wind? Find a dress that flows so you can have some fun. Are you going to get dirty? Yeah sorry that’s a given.

You can also decide to choose colors that compliment the area you are eloping in and help you stand out. Blues can be beautiful in the snow. A black suit is snazzy against orange sandstone. It is totally up to you so have fun with it!

Rings

Rings are also an important element for your elopements. Your rings should be a beautiful reflection of yourselves. They don’t have to be the typical stainless steel, gold, or diamond mix. However, if that’s what you are into the go for it! Find the type of rings that speak to your personality.

Vendors

Below is a list of vendors that you can choose to add to your team. Every type of vendor has something unique to offer to your elopement!

Videographer

Videographers can help you relive your elopement and feel all that you were feeling during your day. They help to capture your love in an artful way so that you can relive the little moments over and over again. Storytelling from your elopement is priceless, especially if it is just the two of you eloping.

Officiant

Officiants are here to help you officially tie the knot, make your marriage legal, and remind you of why you are vowing your love in the first place with personal anecdotes and funny jokes. They can be strangers who become friends, or even a friend or family member of your own. Friends or family can get ordained through the Universal Life Church through an easy process.

Florist

Florals can be a nice pop of color that can make you both smile and bring a little life to your day! Floral artists are pretty incredible. They create these beautiful bouquets that can fit your style and location with an artistic flair. You can choose to work with a florist local to your elopement location, or a floral artist that you adore.

Hair + Makeup

On your elopement day you can choose to either do your own hair + makeup, or hire a professional to do it for you. Let’s be real though, who doesn’t like being pampered a bit? You especially deserve it on a day where you are going to vow your love to the person who matters most. 

You can choose to skip the stress by getting your hair + makeup done by a pro. This may be done at a crazy hour if you are starting at an epic location for sunrise. Makeup artists can even tag along on your adventure to keep your makeup + hair looking fresh after a long hike or surprise weather! You deserve to feel great on your day so your elopement photographer can capture your glow.

Elopement Planner

Elopement planners are great at helping you both achieve your vision and inspiring you with new ideas. A planner can show you how to plan an elopement while keeping you on track. A planner can be a great option if you don’t really know where to start or don’t want to put all the stress of planning your day on yourself.

Chef/ Caterer

Depending on the amount of guests for your wedding day, you may want to choose between a caterer or a private chef. When choosing the type of food you want to eat, think local and find what sounds yummy to you!

If you elope just the two of you, you can totally just go and eat out on your wedding day. However, hiring a chef to create a meal for you may really add to your experience!

Musicians

Live music may be important to you for your wedding day, and just because you are eloping does not mean you can’t hire a musician or small band! Some creatives are down to hike to a mountaintop with their instrument. How magical is that?

Use this elopement checklist as a starting point for planning your own elopement! Make it your own. Add to the checklist and take off what doesn’t work for you. I hope that you can use this guide to feel inspired. Get excited on planning your greatest adventure yet!

 

Your elopement checklist is ready! Now you are ready to start planning your elopement! Get in touch! Let’s go on your adventure together!

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out how to get married in a National Park!

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!